This is a bi-annual immersion model trip to Hospital La Mascota in Managua, Nicaragua, which is the largest children's hospital in Nicaragua. Our team (2 pediatric hand surgeons, 1-2 fellows or residents, and a pediatric occupational therapist) work closely with a group of four local orthopaedic surgeons and Nicaraguan residents on their pediatric orthopaedic rotation.
We typically examine roughly 100 children, select 20-25 for surgery, and perform 5 days of surgery (2 operating rooms). Surgeries, performed on children of all ages, include hand and upper extremity reconstruction for various conditions including but not limited to polydactyly, syndactyly, burn contractures, and fracture care.
This will be the group's 17th trip and we have long-term follow-up on many children. Hospital La Mascota is the largest children's hospital in Nicaragua. This trip will serve as the only source of pediatric hand care in the country.
Additionally, this immersion trip has been established to foster a collegial and educational relationship between US and Nicaraguan orthopaedic surgeons and trainees. We will train Nicaraguan residents from three programs and provide lectures to the residency.
I am a pediatric hand fellow at the Shriners Hospital Northern California, and this will by my first trip with the group. We travel under the auspices of Health Volunteers Overseas (local contact is Dr. Dino Aguilar), which handles our credentialing and customs paperwork. Our travel, accommodations, meals, and the supplies we bring are all self-funded.
Our 2018 trip to Managua was an incredible experience. We saw roughly 100 patients in clinic and performed roughly 20 surgeries on children with congenital and post-traumatic deformities. This is the only source of pediatric hand care for the country, and surgeries were performed for pathology varying from polydactyly to post-traumatic physeal arrests.